Bronson Layton may be young, but he has a lot of wisdom to share. The 22-year-old from Ragland, Alabama lives with a rare form of autism that has helped him learn about self-acceptance.
Bronson, an English teacher and YouTuber, recently shared his story in a vulnerable Facebook post that inspired and uplifted people all over the internet.
He posted to the ‘Good News and Happy Stories Only’ Facebook message board, writing about his journey to self-acceptance, urging others, no matter how “different” they seem, to love and accept themselves no matter what.
Bronson was diagnosed with a rare type of autism called Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD NOS) in 1999 when he was a toddler.
As he grew up, his parents hid the diagnosis from Bronson, fearing that awareness of his autism would hold him back or impact his self-esteem.
Bronson explained in his Facebook post:
“My diagnosis was in 1999, a time when autism was still not commonly understood and was still being observed… My parents were initially shocked at this revelation … but they (and I) were not prepared for how the following events positively changed our lives forever.”
Although Bronson was slower to complete assignments compared to his peers in grade school, he excelled when accommodations were made for him.
With his mother’s encouragement, he even joined the school marching band and began to have positive social interactions. The confidence boost led him to discover his talent for creative writing and gained him a reputation as a writing tutor among his classmates.
At 15, while tidying up, Bronson came across paperwork confirming his diagnosis. Bronson accepted the news with compassion for his parents’ decision to keep the truth about his autism hidden.
“My parents kept it from me because they thought it would affect my self-esteem to the point that I felt like a freak to others, but I wasn’t mad at them. I understood why they’d hide this from me because they really love me, and ever since then, I’ve accepted who I am, and I use my talents to help others who need a friend.”
Bronson has since graduated from high school— he was class president and valedictorian, no big deal. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in English, aiming to become a professor.
Bronson also raises autism awareness and spreads the gospel of self acceptance to others on the spectrum via his own Youtube channel, Brons Over Brains. He has over 100,000 followers, and it’s no wonder— we all struggle to embrace what’s different and weird about ourselves.
“Everyone, including the parents of children with autism, you are all on the right path in life, no matter how different you think you are from other people,” Bronson wrote on Facebook.